Less than a decade back, Kareena Kapoor’s weight loss was a hot topic. Her weight loss was possible because of mix of exercise regime (Bikram Yoga) and diet control.
It was then, I came to know about various Yoga styles.
There are many other styles like Asthanga, Bikram, Iyenger, Ananda, Anusara and which one to practice, depends on the individual’s preference.
Here I am going to dig deeper on Asthanga Vinyasa Yoga.
What is Asthanga Vinyasa Yoga
Asthanga Vinyasa Yoga style is codified by popular Yoga teacher K. Pattabhi Jois. He established Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute in Mysore, India in 1948.
About K. Pattabhi Jois
Yogacharaya Shri K. Pattabhi Jois was born on July 1915, in Kowshika (150 kms from Mysuru).
His father was an astrologer and a priest in the village of nearly seventy families. He learned Yoga from famous Yoga guru Tirumalai Krishnamacharya who is known as Father of Modern Yoga. Krishnamacharya was a Yoga teacher in Mysore Palace (India, Karnataka). He was also an expert in Ayurveda.
Shri K.Pattabhi Jois started studying Yoga in 1927, when he was 12 years old. Later he studied Sanskrit and advaita philosophy at the Sanskrit College in Mysore and began teaching yoga there in 1937.
He also became a professor and taught Sanskrit and philosophy at the College for 36 years. (Source)
More on Asthanga Vinyasa Yoga
It is named after the eight limbs of yoga mentioned in the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali.
Power Yoga or Vinyasa Yoga are the common terms used to refer to any type of aerobic exercise derived from Ashtanga Yoga.
Meaning of Vinyasa in words of Shri Pattabhi Jois :: “Vinyasa means ‘breathing system.’ Without vinyasa, don’t do asana. When vinyasa is perfect, the mind is under control.”
In this Yoga, the students are encouraged to do deep breathing while performing any asana. One should do deep breathing from nose and not from the mouth.
Breath is set to link the physical body and the universe. The correct technique for breathing in Asthanga style is the is Ujjayi pranayama.
Ujji means to be victorious and hence this breath is termed as victorious breath.
Inhalation and exhalation are both done through the nose. The “ocean sound” is created by moving the glottis as air passes in and out. As the throat passage is narrowed so, too, is the airway, the passage of air through which creates a “rushing” sound. The length and speed of the breath is controlled by the diaphragm, the strengthening of which is, in part, the purpose of ujjayi. The inhalations and exhalations are equal in duration, and are controlled in a manner that causes no distress to the practitioner. Source
The Asthanga Vinyasa Yoga is traditionally started with the following Sanskrit mantra
vande gurūṇāṁ caraṇāravinde saṁdarśita svātma sukhāvabodhe
niḥśreyase jāṅ̇galikāyamāne saṁsāra hālāhala mohaśāntyai
ābāhu puruṣākāraṁ śaṅ̇khacakrāsi dhāriṇam
sahasra śirasaṁ śvetam praṇamāmi patañjalim
which is roughly translated into English as:
I bow to the lotus feet of the gurus,
The awakening happiness of one’s own self revealed,
Beyond better, acting like the jungle physician,
Pacifying delusion, the poison of Samsara.
Taking the form of a man to the shoulders,
Holding a conch, a discus, and a sword,
One thousand heads white,
To Patanjali, I salute.
and closes with the mangala mantra:
svastiprajābhyaḥ paripālayantāṁ nyāyena mārgeṇa mahīṁ mahīśāḥ
gobrāhmaṇebhyaḥ śubhamastu nityaṁ lokāḥ samastāḥ sukhinobhavantu
which is roughly translated into English as:
May all be well with mankind,
May the leaders of the Earth protect in every way by keeping to the right path.
May there be goodness for those who know the Earth to be sacred.
May all the worlds be happy
Both full and new moon days are observed as yoga holidays in the Ashtanga Yoga tradition.
About Mysore Yoga Classes
Yoga guru Tirumalai Krishnamacharya and Shri K.Pattabhi Jois taught in Mysore from where the term Mysore style became popular.It is a traditional way of practicing Asthanga Vinyasa Yoga .
It is unlike a popular “led-primary” class where a teacher leads a sequence who is supposed to be followed by students.
Here a student is supposed to memorize a sequence and to perform on her own. Teacher will guide the student during the first time and wherever required. Here a teacher knows in and out of a student. He will make sure that the student performs all the asanas in the correct way.
As the practiced in done independently of others, the student can come anytime and can stay as much as she wants.For beginners the classes end usually early as teacher asks them to repeat the Surya Namaskar and other few asana. For advanced person, it can be for an hour.
There are two sets of Surya Namaskars (Sun Salutation) that are followed here.
This is the best way for both a beginner and advanced practitioner to practice. They can focus on themselves with no feeling of competing or comparison. One can practice with her own pace.
Teachers are there to do “adjustment” or correcting your pose when required. It is really important as they help you to guard against injuries and wrong postures.
If you have doubt whether you will be able to do this style, then just go with the words of Yogacharaya Shri K. Pattabhi Jois, “Yoga is possible for anybody who really wants it”.